Berkeley float goes for gold

A NEW package of base metal and gold tenements is expected to hit the street any day after Berkeley Resources lodged a $4.6 million prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission more than a week ago.

The company is chaired by Brian Smith, with Rita Brooks also taking on a board position in the company alongside managing director Peter Batten.

Mr Batten said the directors had been waiting for about eight months for an opportune time to float 70 per cent of the company. With sentiment towards gold stocks increasingly positive in WA the board at Berkeley was advised to make its move now.

“We believe the improved gold price and demand for nickel is very encouraging for small explorers to raise funds for exploration,” Mr Batten said.

Mr Smith was the founding director of Chemeq Limited, which listed two years ago at 25 cents and is currently trading at around $3.50.

The company takes its name from the Berkeley Project in the Kimberley where a gold province is being evaluated. The company has three other gold and nickel projects spread from Batchelor in the Northern Territory, Strelley in the Pilbara and the Miriam/Bouchers nickel and gold area at Coolgardie in the Goldfields. 

Computronics a hit

AGRICULTURAL electronics company Computronics Holdings Limited has impressed the market with a strong debut on the Australian Stock Exchange last week. The performance was viewed as unexpected given the lack of interest shown by investors leading up to the float.

The Western Australian company held off its Montagu Stockbroking-sponsored listing by a month because investors, many of whom are farmers, were too pre-occupied with harvesting to write out a cheque to pay for their subscription.

And when the money did come in, the pile was less than half of the $3.5 million the company was hoping for. The IPO raised just less than $1.2 million.

Yet on Friday the shares, issued at 35 cents, hit the board at 42 cents and closed the day at 38 cents – a 20 per cent premium and capitalising the company at $12.5 million.

It was the only standout in what was a relatively flat market.

The money raised will be used to fund the expansion into Europe and the US.

Company founder and chief executive Ole Hansen was equally impressed with the market opener.

“It’s been particularly pleasing in this environment to get solid support from our farmer clients from all over Australia,” he said.

The company’s prospectus forecast revenue of 2002-03 to increase to $16.8 million compared with $10.6 million during the previous year, with even drought across the nation not expected to put a dent in income.

“The drought has not materially affected the company’s operations to date and in fact we are substantially ahead of revenue compared with the same time last year,” Mr Hansen said.

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